Target people’s forgotten needs

WE ALL know the old marketing adage, “sex sells”. The marketing approach is quite simple: link sex directly or indirectly with the product or service that you are selling. It may be a certain brand of cola that we end up buying, but it was sex that we were after.

Sex is a base level physiological need on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As a base level need, sex is a desire that people will seek to satisfy even if other low level needs such as employment, shelter or safety have not been met. Quite simply, sex appeals to us all.

Putting sex to one side, people also have higher level desires that we may want to appeal to. As we discovered in the previous post, there are three simple pleasures which people require for a life of happiness (whether they know it or not):

  1. Friendship: we want to belong to a community with which we can identify. We want to be cared for and cared about. We want to be missed when we are not around;
  2. Freedom: we want independence from the demands of others. We want control over our own lives and the ability to make our own decisions; and
  3. Thought: we want to understand the world and the nature of the challenges that we face. Understanding may not remove the challenges themselves, but it will help to remove the anxiety that often accompanies the confusion, displacement or surprise which result from our lack of understanding.

As the examples below demonstrate, marketing firms are well aware of the opportunities presented by being able to effectively target people’s forgotten needs.

1. Friendship

It may be a certain brand of alcoholic beverage that we end up buying, but it was friendship that we were after.

2. Freedom

It may be a certain brand of luxury car that we end up buying, but it was freedom from the demands of our daily lives that we were after.

3. Thought

It may be a certain brand of personal computer that we end up buying, but it was a desire to think differently and understand the world that we were after.

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